Sep 29, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from The Daily Caller: A Catholic education group alleges that a federal agency has interfered in labor relations between Catholic universities and their faculty, jeopardizing religious liberty.
Recently, the National Labor Relations Board forced one of the schools, Duquesne University, to hold a vote on allowing faculty to unionize — in violation of the First Amendment, according to Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society.
“What the Supreme Court has said is the very fact of the NLRB getting involved in these personnel issues is going to entangle the NLRB, a federal agency, in religious issues,” Reilly said in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Should employee benefits include contraception and sterilization and abortafacients? The Supreme Court has said that any institution that holds itself out as religious needs to be exempt for NLRB oversight.”
The Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that the National Labor Relations Act does not have jurisdiction over religious schools. But while taking action against other religious colleges in New York and Chicago, the NLRB has maintained that these institutions are not sufficiently religious to qualify for exemption from federal oversight.
As a result of the NLRB forcing Duquesne to hold a vote, university faculty overwhelmingly opted for unionization. The university did not respond to requests for comment, but a spokesperson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette than an appeal was planned.
“Duquesne will be re-filing the appeal with the NLRB and reasserting that we believe it does not have jurisdictional oversight,” said Bridget Fare, a spokesperson for the university.
The NLRB’s activities, are part of broader campaign to erode the freedoms of religious universities—one that includes the department of Health and Human Services’ enforcement of the health care law, argued Reilly.